Auckland Council and the government have agreed in principle to a cost-sharing agreement to fund recovery and resilience work following the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.
“I am pleased we have reached this agreement so Auckland Council can provide certainty for the people whose properties, or those close to theirs, were severely damaged by landslides or flooding,” cyclone recovery minister Grant Robertson said.
The Crown has already agreed to pay $877m from the National Resilience Plan towards the initiative. Money is split into three funding streams: house buyouts, flood mitigation and transport network repairs.
Council and government will each contribute half of the $774m towards purchasing category three residential properties where it is a risk to live and flood mitigation is not feasible. Auckland Council estimates there are 700 such homes. Similar 50:50 funding agreements were reached between the Crown and the councils in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay.
$380m for flood protection works is being allocated by the government towards category two areas that were damaged during the wild weather. “This work is essential to provide security to those who will continue to live in flood-prone areas, in the face of more intense and frequent weather events,” said Robertson. These efforts will include increased maintenance, stream rehabilitation, culvert and bridge upgrades, overland flow path management, and introducing blue-green networks in flood-risk areas.
Blue-green networks are enhanced parkland and open-space stormwater solutions. The places being considered for blue-green projects are the following areas: Wairau Creek, Kumeū River, Waimoko Stream, Opanuku Stream, Porters Stream, Whau Stream, Cox’s Creek, Gribblehurst Park, St Leonards Road, Te Auaunga Awa, Harania Creek, Te Ararata Greenway and Whangapouri.
Target areas for transport network repairs include Mill Flat Road Bridge, access to Karekare and Piha and slips on Bethells Road. The government will contribute at least $110m to these initiatives. Auckland Council will supply $81m towards transport network repairs and its application for a further $199m from Waka Kotahi is expected to be approved. That would bring the total governmental contribution across all funding streams to nearly $1.1bn.
Auckland councillors unanimously endorsed the initiative in principle, but it is still subject to public consultation because of the significant financial burden. “Some of that falls on ratepayers, so we need to consult with them on these costs,” said Auckland mayor Wayne Brown.
A two-week consultation period will open in mid-September, primarily targeting the affected areas of Auckland.